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Dr. C. Patel (London, U,K)

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How to Attain Enlightenment: The Vision of Non-Duality (Spirituality Religious Experie)
How to Attain Enlightenment: The Vision of Non-Duality (Spirituality Religious Experie)
by James Swartz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.50

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book embodies the essence of Vedantic teaching with profound clarity, 30 May 2010
This book is a gem as it will set forth any ardent aspiring seeker on the right spiritual path thus avoiding years or decades of floundering in the quagmire of the world of cults, belief systems, pseudo-gurus/ teachers and self proclaimed masters of Enlightenment.
Imagine what Columbus would have given to have a more accurate map of the world when he set forth on his Journey to discover the East.
Well for a start the Na-Dene' people would not have been branded as Red Indians and the central Islands between North and South America as West Indies.
All this was product of Ignorance.
Similarly when we set forth on the Voyage of Self discovery, we do so without understanding our fundamental problem which is that of Ignorance of our intrinsic/true nature. We therefore erroneously identify ourselves with the body-mind complex and thus end up with the commensurate by-products i.e. need for security, fulfilment, happiness, leading to likes and dislikes, desires, fear, anger, greed , jealousy, addiction, fanaticism etc.
We thus look upon ourselves as a miserable insignificant little individual with the need to look for a God outside and Enlightenment/ mystical experiences via yoga/meditation/Samadhi as an achievement and a passport to merger with that external God as some future event.
This book embodies the essence of Vedantic teaching with profound clarity. It will reveal that we do not lack any experience of the SELF. That duality is experienced during our waking and dream state and non-duality (advaitam) during our deep sleep state and that the ultimate quest is to recognise the unchanging substratum i.e the witness consciousness in and through all these 3 states of mind. When the mind is extroverted we enjoy the wakerhood status, when it is introverted we enjoy the dreamerhood status and when the mind is resolved we have the sleeperhood status.
Thus we claim, I am the Waker or Dreamer or Sleeper. The seeker has to undertake an inquiry into these states of mind and recognise their transient nature and realise that what is constant and unchanging is nothing else but that immanent and at the same time transcendant consciousness 'I' which has been ever existent.

However it is vehemently pointed out that this does not mean we have to set about destroying all our thoughts or ego or sit around in meditation, or keep chanting and claiming since everything is consciousness nothing else exists or ever happened. A seeker may temporarily feel high during meditation or satsangs and weekend retreats with a guru but inevitably disillusionment will set in when facing the real world. The Self does not require any new experience of Enlightenment or awakening, it is always self evident and self effulgent.
As our fundamental problem is that of Ignorance of real nature whose locus is the
mind, there cannot be multipath approach for its removal. To remove darkness there is only one path i.e. Bring Light. This is not fanaticism but statement of fact.
Hence what is required to remove ignorance of the Self is a valid means of knowledge. This knowledge is regarding the SELF (Atman) but it takes place in the mind only. The normal means of knowledge (perception, inference etc) are geared towards investigation of the external objects or the mind but not the Self i.e the subject.
Fortunately there is a guiding map, a Valid means of Self Knowledge-Vedanta. The path is
well trodden, verified over thousands of years by great sages and most importantly verifiable by every individual. But for that what is required is genuine desire and effort on the part of the seeker. There are no shortcuts and crash courses. Any crash course on this path will crash. Everybody acknowledge the fact that to aspire for a degree in Science, Engineering or Medicine, right qualifications have to be acquired through various stages of school, college, university etc. over a number of years.
This book will without a shadow of doubt whet the appetite of an aspiring seeker to undertake such a journey of right preparation of the mind before exposure to vedantic teaching and subsequently immerse in 'consistent and systematic study for a length of time under the guidance of a competent teacher' until it will finally dawn that what we were seeking was always with us.
That is Enlightenment.

Enlightenment: The Path Through the Jungle
Enlightenment: The Path Through the Jungle
by Dennis Waite
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is a bold attempt by Dennis Waite to layout the fundamental differences between traditional teaching and that of the proponents of direct path and to dispel the myths regarding Enlightenment. In this respect it is unique and bound to arouse much discussion/controversy. However the statements made in the book are not personal opinion of the author but reflect the core teachings of a long established , proven and verifiable (alas , this requires considerable effort) methodology set out in Vedanta and Mandukya Upanishad. In this respect, it will be of immense benefit to seekers if read with an open mind. Vast majority of misconceptions and confusion arise due what is termed as "Level Confusion" i.e. whether the statements regarding the absolute reality "Brahman" and Enlightenment are made from the viewpoint of the Non-Dual Reality or from the viewpoint of the Duality which is dependent and relative reality (Mithya), same goes for questions asked and answers received during satsangs. This message is embodied in the passage 343 of the book. This single concept is at the heart of confusion, controversy, misconceptions and paradoxes facing an aspirant and not fully grasped by the Neo-Advaita teachers and warrants further indepth study and investigation on the part of the reader prior to coming to any conclusions regarding the contents of this book.

Vedanta at the outset proclaims "Thou Art That" which is what the Teachers of One announce to the seekers also, however, than the latter go on to advise that since one is already enlightened, there is really nobody there, nothing to be done, no effort , no training of the mind, i.e. no preparation of any kind is required. This obviously is appealing in this age of instant gratification as it unfortunately caters to our inherent tamasic (inertia) tendencies. Many of these teachers have no doubt gone through some spiritual epiphany which has been mistaken as genuine Awakening having failed to grasp the fundamental difference between Experience and Knowledge. Hence before we embrace that, we need to examine experiences in our real life and inquire , are there any easy paths devoid of hard work and effort to achieving anything in life in a legitimate way, e.g. say graduating as a Quantum Physicists, or a brain surgeon, or becoming a successful businessman, obviously the answer is "No", then how can we expect the highest goal of human existence to be accomplished without the required effort and mental preparation.
The locus of ignorance of our Real Nature is in the mind (in the realm of Duality), the "Non-Dual Self" that we are, does not require any Enlightenment. This is the crucial message of the traditional teachings and have to be understood at a deeper level and which sadly is totally missed and wrongly interpreted by those who preach the "no path, no seeker, no practice" message. Mandukya Upanishad provides ample examples of such ignorance arising from illusions (mistaking a rope for a snake in dim light,, mirage etc). No amount of prayers, rituals or statements dismissing what is being observed, can remove this ignorance, only relevant and valid means of knowledge.

Hence in the traditional teachings, after having stated the Ultimate Truth "You are That", the student then is instructed to embark on a "Systematic, consistent study of scriptures for a length of time under the guidance of a competent teacher" The Vedas do not dissuade seekers from attending satsangs, in fact communal rituals, prayers, pujas, meditation etc are encouraged as they tend to trap the mind and focus attention, however this is just the initial step. A student who aspires to be a Physicist, joins classes with other students first in a school, then college and finally University, however during all these phases he or she has to go back home and revise, cogitate to remove all doubts and understand what was taught in the class and finally to assimilate. The same processes or stages are emphasized in the scriptures, i.e. listening, discussing, reading (sravanam), removal of doubts (mananam) and assimilation of doubt free knowledge (niddidhyasana).
Ramana Maharishi who was well versed in the traditional scriptures(as reflected in his own teachings) has also highlighted these stages in his Self Inquiry. Infact Self Inquiry leads to Self Knowledge which in turns leads to elimination of Self misconceptions. For this an appropriate instrument or valid means of knowledge is required just as colour knowledge requires eyes, sound knowledge requires ears, We have to keep in mind that even after his death experience, Ramana Maharishi spent nearly 20yrs in a cave in contemplation of this experience until eventually he was able to establish himself permanently in the SELF (effort). During this period he also acquired a sound understanding of the traditional teachings against which he was able to verify his own awakening. .
In the light of the above, this book should be approached with a totally open mind and a willingness to delve deeper into the subject matter.

Back to the Truth: 5000 Years of Advaita
Back to the Truth: 5000 Years of Advaita
by Dennis Waite
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This is a monumental effort to expound with profound lucidity the core teachings of advaita, based on Vedanta and Upanishads of the Vedas, the Science of Self-Knowledge. It dispels many of the myths propagated by Neo-Vedanta and Neo -Advaita satsang culture. It does away with erroneous beliefs and proceeds in a logical fashion to instill in the minds of the aspirant that what is ultimately required to remove ignorance is not to go on seeking an experience of Enlightenment but to arrive at an understanding of the nature of Reality and the nature of one's own being , i.e, knowledge of the SELF.
Right at the outset Vedanta proclaims that each individual is in essence that SELF, the limitless, indestructible, whole and complete Awareness/Consciousness and that there is only that Non-Dual Reality in existence. In other words we are told that we are experiencing the Non-Dual SELF all the time and we are what we are seeking. However because of our identification with the Body-Mind-Ego, we have come to believe ourselves to be limited beings and experience separateness in duality. Effort is therefore required to slowly peel away these false beliefs and tendencies. Ramana Maharshi had the death experience during which he realised his true nature, and to ensure that his understanding would survive that experience and that his mind would permanently establish in the SELF, he spent the next 20yrs in a cave making that effort. Neo-advaita culture would obviously dismiss this for making effort does not come easy due to our tamasic(inertia) tendencies.
This book will reveal that Vedanta is a means of Knowledge of the SELF and not any experience of it, and like other bodies of knowledge in the objective world e.g Physics there are levels of acceptance of reality and the process of sublation. In the first stages of studying Physics, the student has to accept the initial simple models of atoms for example and then proceed to higher levels of understanding, each level sublating the former rather than delving straight into quantum physics. A similar logical and scientific process is laid out in this book and a multiple read of its content coupled with deep cogitation and analysis of our own experiences of life will eventually lead to the profound and sublime understanding that the experiencer, the object of experience and the process of experience are all one, SELF REALISATION OR ENLIGHTENMENT.

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